Bosavi multifunctional LED combines bike light, headlamp and lantern
By C.C. Weiss
June 6, 2012
You can pack an entire kitchen and garage into your car for a camping trip, but the one thing you forgot will cripple you the entire time. And that's one of the reasons why multifunctional gear is such a godsend to campers. One of the latest multifunctional camping tools, the Bosavi headlamp, gives you a several different types of lighting in one versatile package.
I learned the lesson first hand on a recent camping trip. I had a big 300-lumen bike light and a nearly-as-powerful tactical flashlight. Together, the two lamps could have lit up the entire campground, but they couldn't effectively help me cook dinner after dusk. It's difficult to cut with one hand and hold a flashlight with the other, which I learned when I sent a chunk of my fingertip spiraling into the dirt. A simple, $15 headlamp would have been more valuable than my hundreds of dollars worth of bike and flashlight at that moment.
While it's a little more than $15, the Bosavi would have been equally valuable. The three-in-one light solution gives you a lantern, headlamp and bike light in one package, so you can do more while packing less. Its lithium-polymer battery delivers up to 70 hours of light in low mode, 23 hours in 60-lumen mode and 3 hours in 110-lumen boost mode. A "gas gauge" lets you know how much juice you have left using series of blinking red and white LEDs to represent power levels.
When he began developing the Bosavi several years ago, designer Dan Freschl believed one of his main innovations was in equipping the light with a rechargeable battery. He had a similar moment of reckoning to mine, when on a camping trip, not a single person from his large group had fresh batteries in his headlamp. So the group of 30 or so climbers scrambled around in the dark, setting up camp under the weak, fading light given off by dying batteries. On that trip, Freschl decided the world needed a rechargeable headlamp, one that could be recharged in the wild.
Today, several major manufacturers like Petzl and Princeton Tec sell headlamp models with rechargeable battery packs, so the Bosavi is just a "me too" in that regard. Bosavi claims that its charging system is more versatile than others, allowing it to draw power from all kinds of sources, including solar chargers. Being able to use a solar charger is a big advantage in that you can charge when you don't have access to the electrical grid or 12-volt supply (i.e. when you're in the middle of nowhere and need a headlamp the most).
Bosavi also innovates in its three-function design. As a category, multifunctional lights are nothing new. Eureka! (among others) makes a flashlight that transforms into a small lantern, and Mammut and Snow Peak have both offered headlamps that double as lanterns. However, the Bosavi is the first light we've seen that throws a bike kit into the mix, helping consumers cut out one among the scores of LED lights they own.
One last unique element on the Bosavi is its lantern shade. While other manufacturers use a plastic attachment to turn beam into ambient light, Bosavi uses an origami-like manipulation of its packaging. The box that the Bosavi ships in folds into the lantern attachment, eliminating one piece of waste and making for an accessory that can pack down into a flat sheet.
Bosavi's website lists a projected retail price of US$80. Like so many other cool gadgets these days, the lamp is currently up on Kickstarter. It's already surpassed its $20,000 goal, and hopes are to raise another $10,000 + or so to cover more of the start-up costs.